Bird feeders

09 February 2012 | Library

The cold weather combined with so much snow and ice is not only unpleasant for the birds, but also dangerous for their lives.  A large part of their food supplies is covered with a thick layer of ice and snow.  The unfortunate ones, who remain around us during the winter, have adapted to the bad conditions – you can see them everywhere, bristled up and looking like feather balls.  Some birds can slow down their metabolism by lowering the amount of food they require. Despite that however, the severe winter takes its own from birds by killing many with hunger and bitter frost.

A home-made feeder, by Ina Guencheva

Bird’s feeding racks are easy to assemble – you can make a rack from any empty plastic bottle, or buy one from big pet and flower shops. The seeds and the couple of lumps of fat are probably the only thing in your backyard that the birds can find during the hard times of cold winter. Make the racks a few – you won’t believe how many birds may gather only at your place. The source of food would be like abundance from heaven for the tiny creatures – titmice, sparrows, finches, and even the bigger visitors like blackbirds, magpies and jays. Especially the finches and blackbirds, which move in nocks, may populate the surrounding trees starving, and empty the racks one by one.

Don’t forget the water! Although there’s plenty of snow around, all sources of water are frozen, you should pour warm (but not hot) water in shallow bowls at least twice a day so the tiny creatures can drink before it has frozen.

It is a good strategy to fill up the feeding racks a couple of hours before sunset, so that the energy that birds would gather from food would help them during the night. Still, if a whole company of titmice lines up on your window sill and look at you with a questioning sight – don’t make them wait.

A day with no food can kill small birds since their rapid metabolism makes them choose between food and death. When such a small creature should produce warmth in an environment whose temperature is altogether 30 degrees lower than its own, calories are being burnt without being able to save any.

09 February 2012 | Library

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